A woman online dating and avoiding romance scams.

It’s no secret that social media and digital dating products have made it easier for people to connect, communicate, and meet up with each other. But an unfortunate reality is that as the popularity of social networking and dating sites has grown, some people have seen them as an opportunity to deceive people. 

The majority of online daters are people who are genuinely interested in meeting someone and starting a relationship, but scammers do exist. To help you learn how to tell the difference between someone who’s legit and someone’s who’s looking to take advantage of you, Zoosk has teamed up with Sift Science to create a few tips on how to avoid dating site fraud.

Online dating is a great way to meet your match. More people than ever are using online dating to meet someone they’re interested in. The downside? Some of those people might be fraudsters. According to the FBI, Americans lost $230 million to romance scams in 2016. That was a whopping $10,000 per victim. And only 15% of fraud victims report their losses to the FBI, so the real number could be higher. The majority of online daters are real people who are genuinely looking for someone. So how do you know who’s the real deal? Spotting a scammer can be really easy once you know what to look for. We partnered with dating site Zoosk to put together a few tips to help you stay safe. Be vigilant. Don’t get so excited about someone that you forget to look out for yourself. If your admirer is overly passionate, declaring their love within moments of meeting you or asking you to be in a relationship immediately, they could be trying to gain your trust to take advantage of you. Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to Google your admirer. The only thing better than a romantic aura of mystery is not getting scammed. Be alert. Look out for red flags that your admirer isn’t who they say they are: many spelling and grammar errors, inconsistent stories, excuses about why they can’t meet up or talk on the phone, or details that don’t add up. If your admirer says they have a job that always requires them to be out of the country or unable to communicate with you, that might be a red flag, too. Be smart. Don’t be too quick to share personal information or photos with people you haven’t met. They could use them to scam or blackmail you. And if your admirer starts demanding your information, run as fast as you can. Be cautious. Never send money to a stranger. If your admirer ever asks you for money in any form – such as bitcoin, wire transfer, or money order – they’re probably a fraudster. And if they ever ask you to transfer money for them, they’re probably laundering money.

Want to learn more about romance scams? Check out Sift Science’s infographic on Fraud in the World of Online Dating or Zoosk’s Online Dater’s Guide to Romance Scams.